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Fanning scores twice as O'Connor's Leinster struggle to draw in Treviso

Jimmy Gopperth had a last-gasp chance to win the game with a drop goal from 22 metres out.

Kearney scored Leinster's second try.
Kearney scored Leinster's second try.
Image: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

Treviso 24

Leinster 24

LEINSTER STRUGGLED TO a 24-24 draw with Benetton Treviso in Italy, with two tries from wing Darragh Fanning helping Matt O’Connor’s side to avoid defeat.

Out-half Jimmy Gopperth had a last-gasp chance to win the game for Leinster with a drop goal, but his effort crept wide to the right. In truth, a win for the Irish province would have been a steal after bottom-of-the-table Treviso showed real spirit.

O’Connor’s men were scrappy in attack throughout, and gave up worrying yards in defence at times. More positively, Dave Kearney scored a try on his return from a knee injury, while Fanning’s excellent form continued.

There was a late blow for Leinster when outside centre Luke Fitzgerald was forced to withdraw before kick-off, his place going to Brendan Macken.

The Irish side got off to a superb start when Fanning scored in the right corner after just three minutes, although Gopperth’s conversion attempt was wide.

Jack Conan surrounded Jack Conan on the charge for Leinster from No. 8. Source: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

Following that early setback, Treviso grew into the game and enjoyed a healthy share of possession. Their improvement told in the 12th minute, when Andrea Pratichetti burst through two soft Leinster tackles to score, with fullback Jayden Hayward adding the extras.

As Leinster struggled to build consistent and incisive phases, the home team struck again with 25 minutes on the clock, as openside Dean Budd benefited from poor play at the base of the Leinster scrum to score.

Five metres from their own tryline, a mix-up between Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath, number eight Jack Conan and the inside backs saw Budd pick off an intended pass for an easy try.

Hayward failed with the conversion this time around.

Leinster did bounce back swiftly, with Kearney touching down at the end of a sweeping move that saw Conan bosh through one tackle and then offload to the Ireland international wing for a straight-forward finish. Zane Kirchner’s break had kick-started that passage of attack.

Gopperth missed the conversion to leave the Italians 14-12 ahead at the break.

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An excellent block down try from replacement hooker Bryan Byrne pushed Leinster in front just a minute into the second half. The 21-year-old got himself in the way of Joe Carlisle’s kick and then showed impressive pace to race clear from 35 metres out after gathering the rebound.

Jordi Murphy tackled by Davide Giazzon Jordi Murphy gets wrapped up by Davide Giazzon. Source: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

Gopperth was on target with the conversion, but was then at fault when Treviso blindside Marco Barbini scored eight minutes later. Leinster’s out-half had a kick of his own blocked down, allowing Barbini an easy finish.

With Hayward converting, Treviso were back into a 19-17 lead, but that swung again when Fanning dived over from close-range for his second try after some extended Leinster pressure in the Italians’ 22.

Gopperth tacked on the two additional points, seemingly providing Leinster with some comfort heading into the final 10 minutes. Treviso refused to give up, however, and Hayward sent hooker Davide Giazzon scampering clear to score in the right corner.

The Kiwi fullback was wide with the difficult conversion attempt, but then missed a far more kickable penalty in the 77th minute. Gopperth had his own opportunity to win it at the death, but fired his drop goal wide from 22 metres out.

Treviso scorers:Tries: A Pratichetti, D Budd, M Barbini, D GiazzonConversions: J Hayward [2]

Leinster scorers:

Tries: D Fanning [2], D Kearney, B Byrne

Conversions: J Gopperth [2]

TREVISO: Jayden Hayward; Andrea Pratichetti, Enrico Bacchin, Sam Christie, Ludovico Nitoglia; Joe Carlisle, Alberto Lucchese; Matteo Zanusso, Davide Giazzon, Rupert Harden; Tomas Vallejos, Corniel Van Zyl (capt.); Marco Barbini, Dean Budd, Mat Luamanu.

Replacements: Amar Kudin, Josè Novak, Romulo Acosta, Marco Fuser, Meyer Swanepoel, Leo Auva’a, Ruggero Trevisan, James Ambrosini.

LEINSTER: Zane Kirchner; Darragh Fanning, Brendan Macken, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Jimmy Gopperth, Luke McGrath; Michael Bent, Richardt Strauss, Tadhg Furlong; Tom Denton, Kane Douglas; Kevin McLaughlin (capt.), Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Jamie Hagan, Ben Marshall, Dominic Ryan, Isaac Boss, Cathal Marsh, Mick McGrath.

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Murray Kinsella

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